Homework Question - Breach of Privacy to Take Photos on Private Property?

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10 May 2016
Hello all,

I am doing a VCE (Vic) subject "Computing: Software Development", and part of our course is the relevant laws in a software development context. Recently, I came across the hypothetical scenario where a company (a florist business) discretely took photos of customers in-store without their knowledge or consent, and displayed them in-store, on a screen.

The suggested solution says that this is a breach of the Privacy Act 1988, but I don't understand why? Is it not completely legal to take photos of anything/anyone (without permission), as long as you are either on public property or private property that you own, and as long as it is not used for making money?

Is it a breach of the Privacy Act because the florist may only be leasing/renting the property, and hence does not technically own it? Or is it a breach of APP (3), which states that sensitive information must only be collected with an individuals consent, and that personal information must not be collected unless the information is required for one or more of the organisation's functions or activities? (Is a photo considered sensitive/personal?)

Finally, would it be a breach of APP (5), as the customers are not notified of the collection of personal information, assuming a photograph of them is considered 'personal information'?

Thank-you in advance for the replies,